Reading Comprehension Website and Task Cards

I honestly cannot believe that our state testing starts on Monday.  Where did the school year go?  I try not to teach to the test, but some of our class activities go in that direction.  Since this is my last week to try and teach the kids before the test, I decided to take a look at some of the data I have about them.  One reading skill that came up as needing review was sequencing.  So that is what I was going to teach this week.   Sunday night I was working on my plans and feeling really tired and not very creative.

So, I went to a site that love to use ….

Have you ever checked out this site?  I love it for many different reasons.  Here are my top 5.

#1 – It’s free!  All you need to do is register and you have full access to the articles and lessons.

#2 – You can look up lessons by state standards and grade level.

#3 – The lesson plan format is “I Do, We Do, You Do.”  I know so many of us use this format in our classrooms.

#4 – There are a lot of informational text articles and we all know that is big with the Common Core.

#5 – The lessons can easily be broken down into short sessions.  This week I taught mini-lessons with my small groups and then they went to finish the work on their own.  Later in the week we came together to review our work.  It was a great assessment for me to see who still was having a hard time with sequencing.

There are more reasons to use this site, but I’ll let you discover them on your own.

Another thing I love, besides this website and my family, are task cards.  I’m always trying to figure out how to use them in my room.  This week we are working on area and perimeter of rectangles.  In my mind, and I’m sure in the minds’ of my third graders, this is boring.  Both are good skills to know, but don’t really relate to a third grader.

So…I decided to make some task cards for us to use.

area and perimeter 1

area and perimeter 2

I know my class prefers to be moving around, a lot!  So these will work great for us.  I’m going to post them around the room and then let the kids get going.  Once everyone is finished, we will go over the problems together and I can use the results as an assessement.  Or maybe I will have the kids go over the problems in small groups.  We’ll see how the day is going.

Do you use task cards in your room?

Do you  have any ideas for helping a third grader relate to area and perimeter?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy the rest of the week.



A Busy Week

It’s Friday already?  This week went by so fast.  It helped that it was only four days and I was busy trying some new things in my classroom.

The first big change was my math rotations.  I talked about them earlier this week and I’m still happy with them.  The biggest difference in my new rotations was not having a whole class lesson.  I now teach the daily lesson in small groups and it is working out so much better.  I can slow the lesson down for some kids and speed it up for others.  Why didn’t I ever think of this before?  The three rotations are: meet with teacher, paper/pencil and games/manipulatives.  I was inspired by some posts on another blog:

3rd Grade Thoughts

Another change was the space in some of my cabinets.  I posted last week that I was participating in The Clutter-Free Classroom Project.  This week the assignment was to streamline our teacher resources and create an organized place to store them.

I am so fortunate to have a bunch of cabinets in my room, but sometimes that can be a bad thing.  I end up holding on to books and papers because I have the room to store them.  This week I went through all my books and got rid of about half.

My philosophy was: If I haven’t used it in the last two years, get rid of it.

I laughed because I put them all in the teacher’s lounge at 8:00 A.M. and by lunchtime they were almost all gone.  I wonder how many of the teachers that took books will end up putting their new treasures in a closet and forgetting about them just like me?

Here are some before and after shots of the cabinets.  There are not big changes, but I can tell there is a lot more space available for new books!

The Cabinets Before

The Cabinets Before

The Cabinets After

The Cabinets After

The cabinets and math rotations were different organizational changes, but both made me feel like a better teacher.  If you are interested in joining The Clutter-Free Challenge, click below and start organizing!

Clutter-Free Classroom

Hope you have a great weekend! 


Math Rotations

I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to figure out the best way to meet the needs of all my students.  This year I have a wide range of math abilities in my room.  Helping each student reach their full potential in math has been my goal all year.  Last year I started having math rotations to meet my needs.  Here was my hour long math schedule:

10 minutes: review/math timed test

20 minutes: mini-lesson

30 minutes: math rotations

My class was divided into three ability groups and participated in three rotations – teacher/paper/pencil, manipulatives and games.  My inspiration for this format was Beth Newingham.  If you get a chance, check out her site.  She has some awesome ideas!

As I continued the rotations this year, I ran into a few problems.

1. I didn’t have enough time with each group.  I helped students as they worked on their paper/pencil sheet, but I wasn’t able to have small group lessons.

2. Many times I was rushing through the last rotation.  My high acheivers worked on paper/pencil during this rotation and I always wanted to give them something more challenging.  By the time I explained it to them, there was only about five minutes left.

3. Math was starting to take over an hour each day.

4. I was having a hard time coming up with new games as the kids were getting bored.

Just as I was starting to question the rotations, I received a blog update from 3rd Grade Thoughts explaining her math rotations.  I decided to rearrange a few things and try this new format.  Check out this great blog that has some very helpful information about the rotations.

3rd Grade Thoughts

Now my math schedule is:

10 minutes: review/timed tests

50 minutes: rotations

My new rotations are:

Meet with teacher: I am able to have teach the lesson of the day in a small group setting.  It gives me a better idea of who understands and who needs some more support.

Paper/Pencil: The students complete some practice problems related to our lesson.  Then comes the part I love!  My high acheivers start with paper/pencil and meet with me last.  I give them their assignment when they meet with me and they finish it the next day during their first rotation. 

Games/Manipulatives: Each day I will let the students know if there is a game or they complete a manipulative activity.  Some manipulatives I have used in the past are tangrams, pentominoes and Logic Links. 

Product Details

I’ve been using these new rotations for a couple of days.  I feel I am getting more quality time with my students and meeting their needs. 

I really would love to hear about how you teach math.  Are you using rotations?  If not, what makes your system work?

Have a great evening!!  


Valentine’s Day Freebie

Happy Valentine’s Day…a few days early.
My daughter is really excited about Valentine’s Day.  She helped to make her own valentines for all her little friends at daycare.  I don’t care much about the holiday, but she made me think about all the kids in my class.  I know they are excited for Thursday and that is what led me to make some new task cards.
We are working on multiplication and division, so that is the skill on the cards.  I found some cute clip art and there you go!  You will find eight cards and a recording sheet.
When I share these cards with my kids, I will be using them in a small group setting.  This will give me a chance to check everyone’s understanding of story problems and multiplying/dividing.
You can find these cards for FREE on the Tpt page.


Have a great week!

Multiplication and Division Word Problems

We started multiplication and division last week in third grade. Our math series has the students working on facts and word problems at the same time. My students do well with facts, but I think we moved too fast with the word problems. So this week I’m slowing it down. I started by making two anchor charts – multiplication and division.

photo1                       photo

We are going to fill in the key words for each operation.  Then we will review what they mean and the symbols that are used for each one.

I also made some fun activities for the kids.  I have 8 task cards that I will hang up around the room.  Each card has either a multiplication or division story.  I’ll have my students write down if the problem is multiplication or division.  Then we will go over the problems together.  I try to make the stories funny so that they aren’t boring like the ones in the workbook.  I usually will have animals eating pizza or teachers in the school doing funny things.  I like seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they read the stories.

After we go over the problems, I’ll have the students complete a worksheet with a few problems on their own.

The next day we are going to review the charts.  I’m thinking of making a foldable for both multiplication and division for us to add to our math journals.  I’m then going to have the students complete a sort.  They will need to read the problem and then place it in the correct category – multiply or divide.  Once I see that they sorted correctly, they will have to solve the problems on the sort card.

I know my students will like this type of practice because they stories are a bit different and they aren’t just filling in a worksheet.

If you are interested in these activities, you can find them at my Tpt store.

multiplication division word problem task cards

Hope you have a nice weekend.